|Alma Mater:||Hofstra '11|
Laura Valentino enters her second season as an assistant coach with Duke softball in 2019 after joining the staff in June 2017. Her primary responsibilities including infield play, catching and offensive strategy.
With Valentino's assistance, the Blue Devils put together an impressive inaugural campaign, winning 29 games and 13 in conference to finish as the No. 7 seed in the ACC. Highlighting the 13 conference victories were four ACC series wins, including the Blue Devils sweeping Boston College in their first home series in program history. Valentino and the Blue Devils closed out the regular season in dominating fashion, picking up three-straight series wins for the first time in program history (at Notre Dame, at Virginia Tech, vs. Virginia). Valentino's offense finished as one of the best in the league, tallying 73 doubles (2nd), nine triples (T4th) and 401 hits (5th). The squad's 1.30 doubles per game average finished third in the conference and 77th nationally. In conference play, Duke accumulated 168 hits, tying for third in the league.
Individually, Valentino's offensive prowess helped Raine Wilson capture All-ACC First Team laurels, while Rachel Abboud and Peyton St. George were named ACC All-Freshman Team. Wilson finished the year standing top 10 in the ACC with 15 doubles (2nd), 62 hits (T-3rd), a .371 clip (5th), .453 on-base percentage (5th), .593 slugging percentage (7th) and 35 runs batted in (7th). She also topped the team with 19 multi-hit contests and nine multi-RBI performances, including being one of two Blue Devils to drive in four runs in a single game. Abboud capped her rookie season as one of the league's best freshmen on the offensive side of the ball. She racked up 17 multi-hit games on the year, including being the only player to tally a four-hit contest in program history (March 17, 2018 vs. Boston College). When not dominating in the circle, St. George was a strong presence at the plate, collecting a .262 clip with 11 hits and five doubles, including the walk-off hit on April 27 against Virginia.
Valentino joined the Duke program following three seasons at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. While with the 49ers, her primary responsibilities included offensive and defensive development and strategy with an emphasis on catching.
In 2017, UNC Charlotte won 30 games – reaching the 30-win plateau for the second straight season – including the program's first Conference USA Tournament victory since 2001. Valentino helped mentor shortstop Haley Pace, who earned all-conference and all-region honors on the field as well as first team CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades after establishing school single-season records for batting average (.433), slugging percentage (.487), runs scored (53) and home runs (15) while matching the 49ers mark for hits (71).
The 2016 campaign saw the 49ers achieve their first 30-win season since 2010 and receive votes in the NFCA Top 25 poll for the first time in school history. The squad's marked improvement was highlighted by a .295 team batting average, up from .257 in 2015, while freshman outfielder Emma Ocker earned first team All-Conference USA and C-USA All Freshman Team accolades. In addition, Pace earned NFCA All-Region honors as well as the Conference USA Spirit of Service Award while pitcher Lexi Betancourt claimed an all-league citation and became UNC Charlotte's all-time wins leader.
Valentino joined the UNC Charlotte staff after three years as an assistant coach at Fairfield University, where she aided with all facets of offense, defense, pitching and catching along with recruiting and administrative duties. At Fairfield, Valentino helped the Stags to two MAAC regular season championships and three conference tournament appearances with a pair of runner-up finishes. Additionally, she coached four 2014 first team All-MAAC selections including the MAAC Pitcher of the Year and MAAC Player of the Year.
Prior to her time at Fairfield, Valentino was a four-year letterwinner with the Hofstra University softball team as a designated player, infielder and catcher and was a part of the two winningest seasons in program history (45 wins in both 2008 & 2010). Valentino started 84 games over her final two seasons, helping NFCA All-America pitcher Olivia Galati establish school single-season records for wins (29), shutouts (17) and strikeouts (348). She capped her career by earning a spot on the NFCA Scholar-Athlete Team and garnering the Hofstra University Outstanding Senior Athlete award.
A native of Smithtown, N.Y., and member of the Smithtown High School Hall of Fame, Valentino graduated from Hofstra in 2011 with a degree in physical education and later earned a master's degree in special education from Fairfield in 2013.